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💵Author's $15.4M Crowdfunding Success and How to Replicate It



🚩Problem

So, picture this: You've got this amazing book idea, the kind that keeps you up at night with excitement. The only hiccup? The cash flow for publishing is nowhere in sight.


🤔Solution

Enter crowdfunding, where you can rally support and raise the funds you need straight from your backers (fans).


🎲Key Players

Authors


Crowdfunding Platforms


😊Benefits of Crowdfunding

  • Market Testing: Crowdfunding is a great way to test the market for a book. If the book crowdfunds successfully, it gives a clear indication of those in the market willing to purchase their book.

  • Building an Engaged Audience: Crowdfunding can help build an audience for a writer. A fully funded book has a crowd of contributors (literally) invested in the writer’s success.

  • Rewards for Readers: Authors can use crowdfunding to reward their readers.


🙁Limitations of Crowdfunding

  • High Expectations: Backers might have high expectations for the project, leading to pressure to deliver on promises, potentially causing stress or disappointment if goals aren't met.

  • Time and Effort: Running a crowdfunding campaign demands significant time and effort, from creating and promoting the campaign to managing backers' inquiries and expectations.

  • All-or-Nothing Model: Platforms often use an all-or-nothing model, where if the funding goal isn't reached, you might receive no funds at all, potentially hindering your project's progress.

  • Intellectual Property and Idea Theft: Sharing details about your project publicly during a campaign could expose your ideas to potential intellectual property theft or competition before they're fully developed or protected.


😎Steps to Successful Crowdfunding


Step 1: Building a Community

Establishing a community stands as a crucial initial step in crowdfunding your book. A robust base of potential backers is pivotal for a fruitful campaign, fostering connections with readers that ease sales and offer valuable input. This cultivation of relationships might span from several months to years. Take, for instance, Brandon Sanderson, who initiated his inaugural Kickstarter in March 2022, amassing $41.7M after more than two decades as an author. His path to success encompassed over 20 published works, engaging blog entries detailing his writing process, sharing book excerpts, and organizing online writing workshops and contests.


How to Build a Community

There are a number of ways you can do this, either through writing a blog or newsletter, starting a YouTube channel, organizing events or being active on social media.

Amanda Hocking built a community of readers by blogging about her writing process and sharing excerpts from her books. She also offered exclusive content to her email subscribers.

Veronica Roth built a community of fans by being active on social media and engaging with her followers. She also hosted online contests and giveaways.

Brandon Sanderson built a community of fantasy fans by writing blog posts about his writing process and sharing excerpts from his books. He also hosted online writing workshops and contests.


Step 2: Choose a Crowdfunding Platform

When selecting a crowdfunding platform for your book project, ensure it works effectively for book-related campaigns. Check the charges and payment processing fees, ensuring a secure payment process for backers. Opt for a platform with a broad international audience. Confirm that the platform aligns with your planned funding duration and understand their funding model. Verify if the platform provides tools for connecting with backers. Prioritize user-friendly platforms. Ensure reliable customer support and assess the post-campaign support the platform offers.


Step 3: Set a Funding Goal

Determine the amount of money you need for your project, covering writing, editing, publishing, and marketing expenses.


Step 4: Create a Campaign Page

Your campaign page is where you'll tell potential backers about your book and why they should support your campaign. Drawing insights from Brandon Sanderson’s campaign page, consider the following factors:

  1. Start with a strong title and tagline: Sanderson’s campaign was titled “Brandon Sanderson’s Secret Novels”. The title is clear, concise, and attention-grabbing. It also accurately reflects the content of the campaign, which is about Sanderson’s new books.

  2. Write a compelling description: Sanderson’s campaign description tells potential backers about his new books in a way that makes them want to read them. He highlights the unique aspects of his books and why he’s writing them. For example, he described one of his books, “Tress of the Emerald Sea”, as a 100,000-word novel inspired by “The Princess Bride”. He mentioned that the book was a result of his curiosity about why Buttercup just sat around after hearing her love had been taken by pirates. This description not only gives potential backers an idea of what the book is about, but it also piques their interest by drawing a connection to a beloved classic.

  3. Include high-quality images and videos: Sanderson’s campaign includes a video where he personally talks about his new books and the campaign. The video is high-quality and relevant to his books.

  4. Offer compelling rewards: Sanderson offered a variety of rewards to his backers, including ebooks, audiobooks, premium hardcover books, and swag boxes. Each backer will receive four new books from the author in various formats, depending on their backer level.

  5. Make it easy to donate: Sanderson used Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform that is easy to use and has a good track record. The donation process on Kickstarter is straightforward and secure.

Also, be honest with your backers about how you'll use the funds raised during your campaign. This will help to build trust and credibility with your audience.


Step 5: Promote Your Campaign

Once your campaign is live, it's important to promote it as much as possible. Share it on social media, reach out to book bloggers and reviewers, and even run paid advertising campaigns.


Step 6: Provide Regular Updates

In the crowdfunding journey, keeping backers in the loop is crucial. Regular updates serve as a bridge between you, the creator, and your backers, fostering transparency and trust throughout the campaign. Here's why and how:

  1. Progress Tracking-Updates allow you to share the milestones and progress of your book project. Whether it's hitting funding goals, completing manuscript drafts, or unveiling cover designs, these updates offer backers a real-time glimpse into the project's development. Example: Suppose your initial funding goal was to cover writing expenses, and you've not only met that goal but also completed the first draft. A progress update can celebrate this achievement and show backers the tangible results of their support.

  2. Engagement and Community Building-Updates are an opportunity to engage with your backers. Respond to comments, answer questions, and actively involve your supporters in the creative process. This engagement transforms backers into a community, fostering a sense of shared ownership in the project. Example: Share a poll asking backers to vote on potential cover designs or offer sneak peeks of character sketches. This involvement creates a dynamic and collaborative atmosphere.

  3. Addressing Challenges-If any challenges arise, be transparent about them. Whether it's unexpected delays or alterations to the initial plan, honesty builds credibility. Backers appreciate knowing the highs and lows of the creative journey. Example: If there's a delay in the editing process due to unforeseen circumstances, communicate this in an update. Your transparency will be appreciated, and backers are more likely to understand challenges when they arise.

  4. Expressing Gratitude-Updates is an excellent opportunity to express gratitude. Thank backers for their support, share milestones reached collectively, and convey the positive impact of their contributions. Example: Create a special update acknowledging the campaign's success and thanking backers individually or collectively. This not only shows appreciation but reinforces the community spirit.


Step 7: Fulfill your rewards

Once your campaign is over and you've raised your funding goal, it's important to fulfill your rewards to your backers as quickly as possible. This will help to build trust and credibility with your audience.


Conclusion

Remember, every great adventure starts with a single step. So, take that leap, embrace the possibilities, and let your story find its wings through crowdfunding. We'll be here cheering you on every step of the way.

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